As we get older, knee damage looms large on the horizon, with such a condition more common in women than men. Knee damage is particularly prevalent in those who are overweight. The heavier we are, the faster our knees deteriorate.
Knee damage occurs as a result of the cartilage erosion which gradually increases as we age. It can also be caused by overworking the knees, by injury or sustained impacts on the knees over an extended period of time.
Furthermore, the following factors can also play a key role in the onset of knee damage: osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, genetics, receiving joint injections and various other joint related disorders, such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
Knee damage is not a particularly dangerous condition but it can have a serious effect on a person’s lifestyle, often leaving them with pain that makes walking difficult. Sufferers may fear leaving their home, become increasingly withdrawn and eventually fall victim to depression.
Some types of knee pain will go away by themselves. However, where that knee pain is a result of knee damage, a medical consultation should be attended in order to receive the proper advice and treatment thereafter, thereby ensuring that the condition does not deteriorate.
Treatment may come in medicated and non-medicated forms, which could involve asking the patient to carry out some targeted exercises to increase knee strength as well as losing any excess weight to reduce the impact on the knees. Some cases may require the patient to undergo strength training alongside taking medication to reduce the pain. This increases treatment efficiency by helping to stave off any potential complications, for instance, deterioration in muscle strength surrounding the knee joint, knee buckling or being unable to flex the knee properly.
Total knee arthroplasty: This form of surgery is suited to patients with severe knee damage who have the use of their knee seriously affected by the condition, impacting their daily life. Recipients of this form of treatment will not have responded well to other forms of treatment, meaning that non-medicated treatment or medicated treatment alongside strength training has been unsuccessful. Alternately, they may be suffering from an extremely misshapen knee joint that is leading to walking irregularities and severe knee cartilage erosion.
1.Lose weight: Do not allow yourself to become overweight as this will mean more work for the knee joints. For those people who are already overweight, losing 5 kilograms can help reduce your risk of knee damage by up to 50%. Additionally, those with knee pain can ease their condition significantly by losing any excess weight.
2.Consult your doctor: Your doctor will be able to carry out a thorough diagnosis, provide treatment and offer advice on what to do next.
3.Avoid heavy impacts: Generally speaking, knee damage occurs as a result of playing some types of sport, such as football and rugby.
4.Stop being mean to your knees: Avoid kneeling down, sitting cross-legged or sitting with your knees bent for long periods of time. Try to find a small chair or cushion to rest your knees so that they are not extended for too long at a time, but if you cannot avoid this, make sure you change your sitting position frequently.
5.Avoid overworking the knees: Try to avoid, for instance, jumping, lifting heavy objects or activities that rely on the knees working hard, such as walking on uneven ground or going up and down stairs.
6.Exercise: Strengthening the muscles at the front of the knee joint will aide any flexing of the knee and reduce knee pain considerably.
7.Seek treatment immediately: Treatment should be carried out as soon as possible if you are in an accident or have suffered knee damage. Moreover, an appropriate amount of time should be given to rest and recuperation before returning to partaking in the sport or physical activity once more.
8.Select the right footwear: Choosing the correct footwear to suit the activity is essential. The correct shoes will help you reduce the risk of injury and aide the work carried out by the knee by allowing it to flex properly without tensing up. This is especially important for women who should not be wearing shoes with too high a heel as this can easily cause the knee joint to twist unnaturally.
9.Increase the consumption of beneficial foods: This applies to foods which can help strengthen the knee, for example:
10.Reduce the intake of joint-damaging foods
Knee damage may be a completely normal part of the ageing process. If we act according to the essential tips laid out above, it can help slow that process down and provie some relief for joint pain. That being said, in cases where joint pain is having a significant effect on the daily life of the sufferer, medical attention should be sought to ensure the correct diagnosis and treatment.
M.D., Faculty of Medicine Rangsit University, 2003.